It’s Here! It’s Yours! It’s Free!

It’s Here! It’s Yours! It’s Free!
Cover of the PDF version of the book:

By Maria Telesco

The long-awaited, updated, revised and redacted edition of A Taxpayer’s Guide to the California Death Penalty is so fresh from the printer the ink is barely dry. It’s authored by Paul Comiskey, the attorney who 30 years ago created the Prison Law Office to provide pro bono legal assistance to prisoners. The 28-page booklet, edited by Fresno’s well-known human rights attorney Catherine Campbell, says everything there is to say about the death penalty: It’s costly and benefits no one. The booklet tells it like it is; nothing is left out.

It comes down to this: How much more money are Californians willing to throw away on an ineffective, outdated, useless, dysfunctional, choreographed method of human sacrifice used for revenge and retaliation? For how much longer shall we keep on throwing millions of dollars down the drain, before we realize it’s pointless to kill somebody who has killed somebody to prove that it’s wrong to kill somebody?

How much money have we, the taxpayers, already thrown at a death penalty that serves no useful purpose? When are we going to wake up, wise up and get rid of this futile display of legalized lynching that’s one of the major reasons why our state is nearly bankrupt? Do we really want to continue taking money away from crime prevention, education, affordable housing and medical care in order to warehouse more than 700 men and women whom we might get around to killing “someday”—say in about 25 or 30 years—or maybe we won’t?

Why does the death penalty cost 10 times as much as life without parole? (No, death row is not a “country club.”) Why do some death penalty appeals last more than 30 years? (No, it isn’t the prisoner who drags his feet.) Why are death penalty trials likely to convict innocent people? (Yes, they do—far too often.) Why does the death penalty cause ongoing suffering for victims of crime? (Where’s the “closure” they were promised?) Why would abolition of the death penalty make our communities safer? (Read this little book and find out.)

The book is available now at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence (1584 N. Van Ness Ave.), Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come in and get your free copy or as many copies as you need. Would you like to distribute them to your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, church, school, social organization, political organization or you name it? If you need larger quantities or an entire box of 250 books, e-mail Maria at, and you’ll get them. Free. It’s that simple. You’ll be amazed when you learn the facts.

You can read the PDF here:


Maria Telesco is a retired registered nurse who has volunteered in various aspects of prison ministry for more than 25 years. Contact her at


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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